To celebrate the end of another wild and wonderful year of music, I’ve put together another… Wintry MixTape! This year’s volume is again filled with music by people I’ve had the joy of sharing stages with over the course of the year. It’s a wide range of stuff, from folk to synth pop, to poetry and prose. It has been that kind of a year, so it’s that kind of a tape. Please enjoy it, and whichever tracks grab you, dig deeper– these are all artists with so much to offer! Also, I’m including a brand-new Skye Steele track! Dig in:
(download no longer available ~ sorry!)
(in order of appearance)
Jolie Holland — Jolie is such a singular artist, a real beacon on the path of uncompromising originality. Her record Wine Dark Sea has been in heavy rotation on my tour drives since it came out last year. Here’s the first song from it that really grabbed and shook me. Getting to play with Jolie and her band on her residency in SF last Christmas was an adventure and privilege I’ll always treasure. Get to know this record.
Bonsai — Fellow warriors in the trenches of Brooklyn, Bonsai’s EP is a snowy dreamscape of goodness. It has been so great to hear them evolve over the last couple years, and I can’t wait to hear what they do next.
cygne — I met cygne (of course) at a barbecue in the Bitterroot Valley this summer. A guitar was being passed around, and when she got it she silenced the whole rowdy crew of Montanans. I didn’t realize until we met again at a festival in Wisconsin though what a rare thing a night off is for this lady– she tours like nobody else I know. If you live anywhere in the US or Europe, cygne is probably coming your way soon. Don’t miss out.
Larkin Grimm — When Larkin and her trio took the stage at the show we shared in Philly, it was like the molecular content of the air in the room changed. The energy was heavy and fecund even as the band played with a push and pull as nimble as chamber music. Dig into her songs, there is so much there.
Colin Wright — One of my wordtasting brothers, Colin is a prolific writer and relentlessly energetic and focused thinker. Every conversation with this man left me with something to think about, and I appreciated our time on the road together so much. You’ll get a taste from this essay from his collection, Considerations.
Lauryn Peacock — Lauryn and I met for coffee in Nashville back in April almost by chance and ended up spending most of August on tour together. Playing her music night after night was such a treat and the songs just kept opening up more and more layers of depth as the tour went along. This is one of my favorites.
Ami Moss & The Unfortunate — When I rolled into Chicago with Lauryn, Ami put us up, fed us, and we spent the afternoon making up songs on the porch. When she got onstage with her band the next night she was a force of nature. Watch out!
Marian McLaughlin — We’ve played a couple shows together this year and Marian is just one of the most unique and fascinating songwriters I’ve been around. Her new record Spirit House is a lush, ethereal journey to another reality.
Sean Barna — We played a show together at Marian’s basement in Baltimore back in the Spring. Sean is all warmth, passion, and sweetness~ in music and in person.
The Minimalists — Traveling with Ryan and Joshua this summer on the wordtasting tour was a paradigm shifting experience that I look back on with immense gratitude. I went into the experience thinking that as a broke-ass musician I had a pretty good idea what minimal living was about. I came away appreciating that through their dedication it a lens to peer down the path of intentional and meaningful living, which is something we can all stand to think more deeply about.
Vanessa Carlton — We’ve been on the road playing this song for the last two months and it has been such a blast. Her new record, Liberman, still has that crystalline songwriting but her poetry just keeps getting deeper and her sonic landscape dreamier and more beautiful. This tune also features the very last string arranging session I did in my old Brooklyn studio before shutting it down in February. We’ll be back out in January, so come say hello!
Skye Steele — well that’s me, and this is a new song I did with my old buddy Cassorla. He’s awesome and we’re gonna do a bunch more work together this Spring, so stay tuned for that.
Nate Wood — in addition to being one of the strongest all-around musicians I’ve ever worked with, Nate writes these thoughtful songs that have a gorgeous balance of flow and intricacy. I love the way this one grooves out.
Josh Wagner — Josh is an old friend from the Bitterroot and a delightful novelist. A year and a half ago he suggested we do a tour together, and that idea eventually became WordTasting. This poem became our nightly invocation for those shows and it continues to light me up every time I hear it.